There’s a powerful and remarkable management tool available to you right now. It’s in your pocket, just sitting there getting covered with lint and scratched up by your house keys.
It’s your smartphone.
And what’s even better, you can run your business without even being in the office.
How do I know? We do it at Firespotter Labs. Our company has launched two major products (NoshList, a restaurant seating app, and UberConference, a conference calling app) and are about to launch another product (more on that later). And most days, we rarely have a full complement of engineers, designers, and management in the office. In fact, two days a week everyone works remotely.
There is a distinctly practical reason for this: not being in the office prevents meetings. There is nothing intrinsically evil with meetings. Sometimes, we need to get physically get together to go over where we are on projects, build group understanding and consensus on how to move forward, and to encourage personal camaraderie and a sense of teamwork.
But meetings also take up time. Time that is diverted from working on our products. We have found that a sometimes remote workforce that can quickly assemble in our offices is the most effective way for us to manage our company.
Here are the four key tools accessible on your smartphone that can help you manage a staff while being mobile:
1. Use cloud-based apps for documents. We use Google Docs for documents and spreadsheets and Dropbox and Box for sharing documents. You can fully control who has access to these documents, and who has edit privileges. Google Docs allows us to share documents immediately without email.
2. Use a project management app. We use Asana. Tasks are posted, deadlines assigned, and the person responsible is listed. Everyone knows can see what everyone else is working on and when it is due.
3. Use a chat or messaging app. We use Gchat. Even in the office — which is an open office with employees sitting at stations on long tables — we use Gchat to communicate with each other individually with requests, questions, etc.
4. Use a conference call app. For obvious reasons, we use our own product, UberConference. We conference with each other many times every day– linking each other on calls, many times with employees spread all over the country — to touch base on particular issues or to hold meetings. It is our intimacy with the needs of businesses in conference calling applications that drives our design of this product.
All of these tools are accessible from your smartphone. You can be anywhere and with your smartphone you can use these tools to effectively manage your staff and move your business forward. Especially with remote teams in different cities, it’s the future of work.